Breed History


The History of Japanese Bobtails (JBTs) is very ancient and colorful. JBTs are a Natural Breed (humans did not originate them from other breeds). Due to this, this is a very healthy and robust breed of cats. This breed originated thousands of years ago in the Orient. There are many stories about their origin. Ancient texts depict their likeness. Bobbed tail cats were and are seen in most of the Orient, indicating that this natural mutation probably occurred in the prehistoric times. Bobtailed cats were brought to Japan most likely from Korea and China in the Sixth Century during the reign of Emperor Idi-Jo (986-1011 AD(?) ) to protect the silk industry and manuscripts from mice. Emperors bestowed special court rank to these magical creatures. It was forbidden for ordinary people to posses them. JBTs were sequestered in the Palaces and Temples for generations. Japanese Religion and Fine Art incorporate superb illustrations of these cats through its history. Tokyo's Gotokuji Temple (constructed in 1697) is dedicated to the Maneki-Neko (Good Luck Cat).

JBTs are found on many silk hand-made scroll paintings, woodblock prints and netsuke (small decorative carved objects used as toggles to fasten a pouch or purse to the kimono sash ). This attests to its important status in the Fine Art of Japan. As these cats became more numerous, they were put into service (around 1600) to protect granaries and silkworm cocoons from vermin. These Living Treasures remained isolated in Japan until after World War II when families of U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan took these cats into their homes. In 1968 the first three Japanese Bobtails  were imported to the United States by Elisabeth Freret to be introduced into CFA. In 1971 they were given provisional status in CFA and were accepted for Championship competition in 1976. In 1993 the Longhair Japanese Bobtails were accepted by CFA for Championship competition. Even though, JBTs are considered to be a minority breed in CFA (few breeders and few litters relative to other breeds), they consistently attain high Regional and National Awards. There are many Distinguished Merit JBTs in CFA.


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